CITY comunications advisory Powerscourt last night held its annual bash in Paramount, the 31st-floor bar of Centrepoint, but there were a few old favourites missing from the crowd.
CEO Rory Godson, originally from Ireland, said he could only pass on his apologies from his Irish chums: “Our friends in Dublin have stayed at home to prepare for the German invasion,” he said, as Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen tries to fend off an EU bailout. But Godson added that the past experience of his English friends had at least assured the Irish that there was little to worry about on that front.
The party went on anyway, quieter than usual in the absence of its regular attendees.
Usual suspects include former Bank of Ireland governor Richard Burrows, U2 manager Paul McGuinness (whose band has been criticised over its tax status) and former Irish European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.
They had apparently decided that they had more appropriate things to do than partying as Rome burns.
400 City workers and celebrities had a cold night on the tarmac in Old Spitalfields Market last week as they participated in the sixth annual Centrepoint sleep-out, a fundraiser for homeless charity Centrepoint, which helps around 70,000 homeless people a year. And the gaggle of celebrities, including singers from The Feeling and TV producer Alex Reid was joined by some business interests, as Metro Bank chairman Anthony Thompson cuddled up alongside a host of his employees to stay warm. Making their beds alongside Thompson and his colleagues were also City workers from Deloitte, BSkyB, Herbert Smith, Forsters, IFDS, King Sturge and Latham & Watkins. Whoever said Christmas is all about bonuses?
ONE NIGHT ONLY
The merry fellows of Land Securities finally celebrated the opening of the One New Change mall’s roof terrace last night, with mulled wine and chestnuts aplenty. With smoking allowed on the roof for this one night only before it opens to Joe Public, they at least had something to do with their hands as they watched a chilly Alisha Dixon – braving the cold in a red strapless number – performing against the dramatic backdrop of St Paul’s.
She was in high spirits despite the weather, dedicating The Boy Does Nothing “to all the men in suits”, which suited just about everyone present. Alas, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson was apparently forced to bow out for some vital royal wedding-related duties and, as the events staff hastily shepherded the chestnut roaster out of close proximity to the building’s fire alarms, the ladies and gents of Land Securities were left to drink – and smoke – the night away.
The London Stock Exchange has announced the launch of a foundation to bring together all of its charitable activities under one umbrella. It will focus its funding on children and young people, healthcare and arts and culture, with its first investment already supporting a housing project in Sri Lanka for displaced families in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. And LSE employees will be able to donate through their payroll, a group matching scheme and by helping with fundraising events. After all, it never hurts to have yet another avenue for City philanthropy.
ALL YE FAITHFUL
With a bonus crackdown in the works, 2010 could prove to be the year of the “significant other” (SO), as events companies report a rise in the number of firms inviting staff to bring their other halves to the Christmas party. Venturi’s Table Corporate Cookery Centre has seen a jump of 35 per cent, with more than half of its festive bookings now including an open invitation to spouses. London-based Elysium Global Events, meanwhile, has seen one in six events this year including SOs versus just one in 13 last year.
Venturi’s MD Anna Venturi reports: “The atmosphere is definitely different when other halves are involved. They tend to be more civilised affairs, with people spending more time talking and less time drinking.” Well, quite! There’s nothing like the watchful eye of the boss’ spouse to keep the office culture at its more, ahem, well-behaved end.
As news stations rolled out coverage from Nairobi to Angelsey and “Kate Middleton bikini” moved up the Google rankings, one dedicated industry was busy crunching numbers for the royal wedding. Top of Paddy Power’s “wedding wagers” list? The date – favourite currently being 13 August 2011.
Other factoids available for a flutter include who will design Kate Middleton’s dress (Amanda Wakeley is favourite at 4/1), how long her train will be (most reckon less than two metres, at 2/1), the colour of the queen’s hat (pink at 9/2) and how many people will tune in to watch the palaver (less than 26m at 9/2).
Punters on Boylesports, meanwhile, can bet on the honeymoon and stag party locations and as the odds move around going into the new year, The Capitalist is just waiting to see which spread-betting provider cracks out the royal wedding charts for some serious technical analysis.